After the Final Curtain
Once a show closes, there are a host of responsibilities, ranging from striking the set, returning any rental items, doing a full accounting of all monies--as well as the fun stuff like holding a cast party!
The best way to have a successful strike is to plan carefully—and the most common reasons strikes turn into nightmares is failure to do so. Here’s how I plan a strike:
1.) List every task that must be completed. (Strike lights and pack rentals for return, re-hang rep plot, strike set, repaint stage, strike costumes and pack rentals for return, etc.)
2.) Create 3 categories:
A. Tasks that MUST be completed immediately (such as packing rentals, and, depending on your situation, probably clearing and repainting the stage, etc.).
B. Tasks that will go much easier with a large number of bodies (such as cleaning the stage, auditorium and dressing rooms, possibly striking the set, returning props and set pieces to storage, etc.).
C. Tasks that can safely be left for another day (such as sorting makeup, possible—depending on your situation—rehanging the rep plot, etc.).
If possible, you want to schedule your strike so that, at a minimum, everything in categories A and B is done on the night of the strike.
3.) Note any tasks that cannot be done until other tasks are completed (for instance, you can't clean or paint the stage until the set is gone, you can't rehang the rep plot until any rented lighting equipment is gone, etc.). Include also any tasks that SHOULD follow others—you could strike lights before the set, but it's lot easier and safer to strike the set first.
4.) Note any tasks that should only be done by trained/experienced techies. (Anything involving power tools—or late at night, any tools—anything involving ladders, anything involving lighting or sound, etc.)
5.) Create a schedule/task list in which every person who will participate is assigned specific tasks and each team of more than two has a leader. DO NOT ASSIGN PEOPLE AT RANDOM. Assign tasks to the people best equipped to do them. (Technical tasks to techies, organizing tasks to people you know are organized, team leaders to folks who lead well, etc.) This will save a ton of time, and make everyone much safer. A sample task assignment list is below:
Bobby, Jack and Marie:
• FIRST strike all rental lighting instruments from front of house positions ONLY, and restore front of house rep plot. Stack rental equipment in loading dock.
• Once set has been struck and stage is clear, strike all rental instruments from stage positions and restore rest of rep plot.* Rental equipment in loading dock.
• Don't be sloppy! Coil all rental cables properly, pull all gels and shutters, etc.!
• Bobby is in charge.
- Strike all microphones and other sound equipment and store it properly. Then join lighting crew.
Remainder of tech crew:
- Strike set. Refer to save list for what to save and what to trash. Take all save pieces immediately to storage under the stage. All trash goes directly into the dumpster.
- Be smart! Don't just shove stuff over—get help.
- Pick up all screws, nails, hardware, etc. Store hardware properly.
- Once stage is clear, join lighting crew.
- Tyler is in charge.
- Alex is in charge of organizing storage under the stage.
- Lilla and Frank have drill duty.
Jill, Marcie and Todd:
- Strike costumes. Set aside all owned costumes and pack all rental costumes BY COSTUME, IN THE BAGS THEY CAME IN for shipment in original boxes. Stack boxes on loading dock.
- When all rental costumes have been packed, organize and store owned costumes in the costume closet.
- Jill is in charge.
Dan and Tammy:
- Strike props. Stack all borrowed props in the drama office for pickup next week. Store all others NEATLY in prop closet.
Mark, Matt and Sarah:
- Clean dressing rooms. Put all makeup and hair stuff in the box, but don't worry about organizing it. Put the box in my office and I'll deal with it later.
- Once lighting crew is finished striking and resetting over the auditorium, pick up all trash in the auditorium. (Janitors will vacuum on Monday.)
- Mark is in charge.
Remainder of Cast:
- Clear all show junk out of all non-theater spaces in building.
- Start by clearing up concession sales area in cafeteria, then clear out the lobby area. Recycle used programs, but obvious any food trash goes in the trash, including paper plates, napkins, etc.
- Then go through the whole building and clear up anything we've left lying around.
- Izzy is in charge.
- Once set and lights are struck, everyone is on stage-cleaning duty.
- Floor must be swept, then mopped. All trash must be picked up, and all trash barrels emptied into the dumpster.
- Last task is repainting the floor black.
- Marie is in charge.
* You'll note that for safety I've scheduled strike so that no one is working under the lighting crew while they strike and rehang lights. That's not especially typical and it may not be possible but it's a good idea if you can do it.
What to Do With Items Built or Purchased for the Show
Accounting and Taxes
The Cast Party